PAST VENUES AND DATES
- Luxembourg Tradefair
- London RIBA
- Boston Build Boston Exhibition
- Los Angeles exhibited
- Sydney AIA
- Auckland exhibited
- Beijing and Zhengzhou exhibited
- Chicago exhibited
- Dublin RIAI
- Brussels exhibited
- Istanbul UIA Conference
- Paris exhibited
- Athens exhibited
- Newcastle RIBA
- Oxford RIBA South
- Birmingham RIBA West Midlands
- Cambridge RIBA East
- Manchester RIBA Northwest
- Cardiff RIBA
- Delhi exhibited
- Paris exhibited
- Athens exhibited
- Palestine exhibited
Angela Brady, Director/Curator DiverseCity global snowball exhibition
When we launched the DiverseCity exhibition at the RIBA seven years ago we had no idea that it would be invited around the world or that it would last beyond the planned two-weeks. At the time I was Chair of Women in Architecture (WiA) and we felt there was a need to have a proactive campaign to celebrate and draw attention to WiA and BAME architects and their work. The timing of it was excellent as diversity was the new buzzword. Our main aim was to promote people making a positive contribution to the diversity of London architecture - so we specifically selected women and BAME architects and movers and shakers adding to this movement. It was also essential to include the research on 'Why do women leave architecture?' by UWE as well as data from SOBA, the society of black architects, and Archaos adding the student dimension.
The website www.diversecity-architects.com really helped to spread the message quickly. The RIBA/USA invited us to exhibit in Los Angeles and we requested they add ten diversity designers to the exhibition to make it more engaging and expand the network. From Los Angeles DiverseCity travelled to Chicago and Boston and a couple of months later China, invited by the RIBA/USA team to Beijing and then Zengzhou in China to showcase our exhibition in a conference forum.
As Director of DiverseCity, I had the privilege of curating and presenting the exhibition at many of the overseas venues and was amazed by its reception in professional circles and by how keen our colleagues were to develop international networks, many of which are still in place today.
In particular, the Chinese team organised a three-day seminar for our team to present DiverseCity to a large audience. Representatives included George Ferguson PRIBA, Jonathan Wimpenny from New York, RIBA/USA leader Tim Clark from Los Angeles, Zoka Zola from Chicago and Annie Chu from Los Angeles (winner of DiverseCity best project). In China the interest in joining the exhibition was so great that a competition was held. Out of 300 submissions we selected 30 projects which were included in an exhibition catalogue published by Charles Qin and Angyla Wang, hosts and directors of DiversCity China. A Chinese team has since visited London.
In Paris, where ARVHA have long been researching and promoting women and disabled architects and crafts people, DiverseCity has been shown three times. I have spoken at their annual conference many times and alongside their Women in Architecture in the Mediterranean. They introduced us to many partners and groups in Europe.
In Athens we linked with EDEM, a dynamic group of women architects and engineers and were invited back for a joint European showcase with EDEM and ARVHA. Set in a magnificent refurbished gasworks, this exhibition was viewed by 800 people and was recorded in an excellent exhibition catalogue.
As a result, the British Council invited us to join in their 'Women at Work' initiative which involved six countries in Near East North African regions (NENA). UK women architects were twinned with women architects in Palestine for a three-year professional exchange programme. This led to DiverseCity-Palestine joining our initiative.
In Dublin, my home town, DiverseCity was welcomed by RIAI and ten new panels joined the exhibition. DiverseCity Linz in Austria hosted a two-day seminar for European Women in Architecture which included a backdrop of DiverseCity panels from 20 cities from around the world.
Speaking at these city receptions on behalf of UK architects has enabled us to forge new links and develop networks that allow us to exchange ideas and compare statistics and best practice to overcome prejudices within our profession and involve larger numbers of women and BAME professionals.
Organising DiverseCity became easier the more it travelled, as so many practices wanted to be involved. The exhibition panels are lightweight A1 heatsea;ed sheets, and can be set up very easily and quickly. Now with a digital DiverseCity exhibition there is an ongoing opportunity for many architects across the globe to view DiverseCity and to exhibit.
Crucially, DiverseCity has highlighted that worldwide both the statistics and problems are similar. There is an urgent need to change 'standard practice' to make it more inclusive. We need to be heard at professional, political and public levels to promote and raise the profile of our contribution to architecture and the professions in the build environment.
Research demonstrates there is a need for change, and increasing our membership, activities and initiatives is crucial to address the DiverseCity agenda. This involves working at the grassroots, and to this end we have been investing in education, running workshops with a wide range of schools and learning-led organsations such as the Building Exploratory in Hackney to encourage children and young people to take up architecture as a profession.
We are involved in a wide range of education projects, workshops for all ages, mentoring programmes, work placements as well working with Anne Markey's team at London Metropolitan University on the RIBA Return to Practice Progamme.
In December 2009 WiA held an international forum on 'Women in Architecture in Europe' at the RIBA. It was refreshing to share ideas among so many like-minded women. We intend to continue this good teamwork with annual meetings at an international venue and with our new WiA website. There is great strength in numbers and we hope that we can influence further changes in legislation and practice to make diversity a priority choice in all areas of our professional lives. Together we can encourage and share our experiences so that in future people will not even have to question it.
I would like to personally thank our Architects for Change team, in particular Sumita Sinha who ten ago inspired us all to join together. We are most grateful to DiverseCity's original designers trockenbrot, and delighted with their design of this new WiA website and the updated digital DiverseCity exhibition, the DiverseCity Profiles section.
I would also like to thank all our international colleagues who actively took part in bringing DiverseCity to their cities and who touched our hearts and souls with long debates on our shared issues. Thanks for all the good times we had celebrating DiverseCity which our team strongly believes in more so now than ever before... let's keep on pushing for change and rolling that snowball network.
Brady Mallalieu Architects
RIBA President (2011-13)